Kiitella’s “10.5 Years In Suite 102” Party

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COME ON OVER!

Pisco Sours shaken and served by Rōber’ & Gregory
Small foodthings
& Mountain Girl Gallery next door is having an Open Gallery Evening

Wednesday June 28, 5-7

~ Please bring anything ~

Lisa

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Lisa Issenberg artist.owner
ridgway, colorado 970.626.3399
lisa@kiitella.com http://www.kiitella.com

Zen and the Art of the World’s Deadliest Motorcycle Race By Stephen Phelan ~ The New Yorker

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The English racer Geoff Duke at the Isle of Man T.T. races in 1955. Hundreds of competitors have died on the circuit.

Photograph by Hulton Archive / Getty

~~~

On the morning of June 7th, several spectators gathered by the side of a narrow country road in Ballig, on the Isle of Man, to witness the third full day of the Tourist Trophy—a weeklong series of motorcycle races held each year on this bumpy, grassy rock in the middle of the Irish Sea. They waited quietly, listening for engine noise amid the birdsong and the murmuring of a nearby stream. Suddenly, a high-performance bike blasted past, at such concussive velocity that it might have been a missile. First-timers winced and recoiled. “Who was that?” someone asked. More riders followed, fearsomely fast and loud, at intervals of a few seconds. Some were recognizable by their racing colors, others by their distinctive riding styles. Brian Coole, a local T.T. enthusiast, spoke familiarly about two of the year’s big rivals, Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop. “Hutchy guides the bike; Dunlop wrangles it,” he said.

There had already been several changes to the 2017 lineup. Rider No. 5, the twenty-three-time T.T. winner John McGuinness, had been forced to withdraw after breaking his right leg, three ribs, and four vertebrae in a bad crash, at a qualifying event in mid-May. Also absent was rider No. 71, Davey Lambert, who had crashed nearby four days earlier. Lambert’s death was announced just before the event now in progress, a four-lap race of the Snaefell Mountain Course. The thirty-eight-mile circuit, on winding public roads, is often said to represent the Mt. Everest of motorsport—partly for its technical challenges, but mainly for its deadliness.

On the first lap, rider No. 63, Jochem van den Hoek, rocketed through Ballig on his Honda at more than a hundred and fifty miles per hour. Some twenty seconds later, turning through a tricky curve at the eleventh milestone, he came off the bike. His death was confirmed that afternoon, around the same time that No. 52, the Irishman Alan Bonner, had his own collision higher up the mountain. Bonner was also killed, bringing the historic death toll on this circuit, which has been in use since 1907, to two hundred and fifty-five, including thirty-two in the past decade. (That figure does not account for race officials and spectators hit by runaway bikes.) For the first twenty years of the contest, parts of the course remained open to public traffic; in 1927, a racer named Archie Birkin was killed as he swerved to avoid a fish truck.

To the casual observer, the T.T. may seem like madness incarnate. “Yeah, I hear that all the time, and it winds me up a bit,” Richard (Milky) Quayle, a former racer, told me at the grandstand in Douglas, the Manx capital. “You couldn’t do this if you were mad. It takes too much focus and discipline.” Quayle had known the two men killed that day, and resented any suggestion that competitors were careless. “Every rider out there is actually living their life, not wasting it like you see so many other people doing,” he said. One of the few native islanders ever to win a podium place in the tournament, Quayle was now a chief adviser on the T.T. circuit, talking newcomers through the treacherous geometry of the Snaefell and assessing their readiness to ride it. He knew the dangers firsthand, having clipped a stone wall with his shoulder, in 2003, resulting in a spectacular crash that later made him famous on YouTube. “I smashed myself to bits,” he said. He only quit the T.T. because, soon afterward, he had a son. “I wouldn’t be able to take those total-commitment corners at Ballagarey or Quarry Bends, knowing he was waiting for me to come back,” he told me. “I still ride fast bikes almost every day. But I do miss the racing. And without it, to be honest, I struggle with life.”

~~~  READ/WATCH VIDEO  ~~~

 

Alfred E. Newman/Jeff Sessions Ravaged by Amnesia Somehow Able to Hold Down Demanding Legal Job

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NYT editorial

How many ways are there to fail to answer a question under oath?

Ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The last time Mr. Sessions appeared before a Senate committee, during his confirmation hearing in January, he gave false testimony.

“I did not have communications with the Russians,” Mr. Sessions said in response to a question no one asked — and despite the fact that he had, in fact, met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at least twice during the 2016 presidential campaign. The omission raised questions not only about his honesty, but also about why he would not disclose those meetings in the first place.

On Tuesday Mr. Sessions returned to answer questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian sabotage of the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to those efforts.

That was the plan, anyway. In fact — and to the great consternation of the Democratic members of the committee, at least — Mr. Sessions was not on board. He arrived in full body armor, testy and sometimes raising his voice to defend what he called his honor against “scurrilous and false allegations” that he had colluded with Moscow.

He also defended his misstatements in January, to the Judiciary Committee, as being taken out of context, and he lowered a broad cone of silence around all his communications with President Trump regarding last month’s firing of James Comey as F.B.I. director, claiming it was “inappropriate” for him to discuss them. Did they involve classified information? No. Was he invoking executive privilege? No, he said, only the president may invoke that. Reminded that Mr. Trump has not done so, he said, “I’m protecting the right of the president to assert it if he chooses.”

In lieu of a real excuse, he cited a longstanding policy at the Justice Department — although he couldn’t confirm that it existed in writing or that, if it did, he had actually read it. In other words, Mr. Sessions has no intention to answer any of those questions now or in the future.

Senator Martin Heinrich, Democrat of New Mexico, angrily accused Mr. Sessions of “impeding this investigation” by refusing to respond, but perhaps the attorney general was wise to keep his mouth shut. When he opened it, he often seemed to contradict himself, his staff at the Justice Department, or the president.

The most glaring example was his claim that the letter he wrote supporting Mr. Comey’s dismissal was based on the former director’s missteps in the bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server — even though Mr. Trump himself had almost immediately blown that cover, telling a national television audience that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he decided to fire Mr. Comey.

Mr. Sessions’s explanation would’ve been impossible to swallow anyway, since he, like Mr. Trump, had originally praised Mr. Comey’s actions in the Clinton investigation.

The attorney general also had a strange reaction to Mr. Comey’s plea that he not be left alone with the president again. By his own account, Mr. Sessions seemed less concerned with the president’s highly unusual and inappropriate behavior than he was with Mr. Comey, telling him “that the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House.”

So here are a few more questions that Mr. Sessions should answer, but probably won’t.

Why did he not resist when Mr. Trump asked him and others to leave the Oval Office so he could have a private conversation with Mr. Comey? At the very least, why did he not take steps to find out what had happened?

Why does he believe he did not violate the terms of his recusal by taking part in Mr. Comey’s firing? His recusal extended, in his own words, to “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States” — which clearly includes the Clinton email investigation.

If his recusal was truly based, as he claimed, on his closeness to the Trump campaign, why not announce it immediately upon his confirmation, rather than wait weeks, until after news of his undisclosed meetings with Mr. Kislyak broke?

And perhaps most pressing: Why, since he agreed with the committee that Russian interference in the election represents a profoundly serious attack on American democracy, has Mr. Sessions never received or read any detailed briefing on that operation?

Daily Actions – Indivisible District 3 Colorado for 06/02/2017

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Keep speaking out on health care. Now is the time. Senators are using this week’s recess to gauge your needs. Call them TODAY.

The Senate is in the midst of holding closed-door meetings to draft their version of Trumpcare, and all signs are pointing to it being just as bad as the House version. Let Senator Cory Gardner & Senator Michael Bennet know you’re watching.

Script: Hi. I’m from _ZIP_ calling about healthcare. I would like _NAME_ to fight for my right to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Specifically, (list what you want). Ideas:
1. No gender discrimination.
2. No lifetime caps.
3. To cover all pre-existing conditions.
4. To cost less than $X per month per person.
5. Comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid.
6. Start pressuring health insurance companies to decrease costs.
7. Then share a story about why one of these is important to you, personally. Thanks!

Last month, members of the House rubber-stamped this administration’s irresponsible Obamacare repeal plan, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would cover 23 million fewer Americans. Members of Congress are putting their own constituents’ lives at risk, and it’s unacceptable.

The bill is now in the Senate—and senators are meeting behind closed doors to draft their own version of it. It’s crucial that we make our voices heard on the disastrous impact that repealing Obamacare would have. Get in touch with your senator now.

MORE INFORMATION:
Fact Check: The Updated GOP Health Care Bill – NY Times Video
Trump: Time to go nuclear in the Senate for tax cuts, healthcare – Washington Examiner
Are Moderate Republicans Really Willing To Kill A Senate Health Care Bill? -FiveThirtyEight

With thanks to Jen Hoffman’s Activism Checklist and Organizing for Action.

Ronald Reagan and the Berkeley People’s Park Riots

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May 10, 2017 07:00 am Wednesday’s D3 Daily Action

DEMAND THAT TIPTON, GARDNER AND BENNET (or your congressman) SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 U.S. ELECTION

(Today’s D3 Daily Action is a biggie… but this is a big deal that could have lasting implications for the Trump’s Administration. Treason is NOT a bi-partisan issue. Please take a little extra time this morning to get through it all!)

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“Future generations may mark today as one of the truly dark days in American history, a history that may soon take an even more ominous turn.

President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey is a matter that should deeply concern every American, regardless of party, partisan politics or ideological leanings…

We need a special prosecutor. We need an independent investigation. There is, obviously, much we don’t know about what has just happened, why it happened and why now. Just as obviously there is much more, so much more that we need know. We need to damn the lies and expose the truth.”
— Dan Rather, May 9, 2017

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Congress has the power to create a special commission to conduct an investigation that is truly independent, bipartisan, and unbiased. It should do so immediately. PLEASE CALL Representative Scott Tipton, Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Michael Bennet to demand that Congress support an independent investigation into Russian Interference with the 2016 Election.

Yesterday, Trump dismissed FBI Director Comey who is tasked with investigating Russian interference in last year’s presidential elections. Trump cited Comey’s handling of his investigation into Secretary Clinton’s e-mail during the 2016 election and Comey’s mishandling of testimony before Congress on that topic. But of course, Trump’s timing is suspect. And now, after firing Comey, Trump will appoint a new FBI Director to look into his Administration’s connections with Russia.

Earlier this week, the American public also learned that Trump sat on his hands for 18 days after his White House Counsel learned that the National Security Advisor had lied to senior officials in the Trump Administration and was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia. Donald Trump’s inaction for so long raises alarming questions the American public deserves to have answered.

At this point, the connections between the Trump team and Russia create a tangled web of overlapping interests that are difficult to unpack or even to visualize but the graphic above starts to unravel Trump’s ties to Russia.

The American people deserve the full story behind Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. But the public cannot trust that Republican MoCs with close ties to Trump and his campaign will investigate the facts thoroughly and impartially. Republicans who were originally supposed to be leading investigations into Russia have:

Demonstrated a lack of good judgment;
Operated with partisan biases;
Shown favoritism towards the White House;
Conspired with White House staff;
Put hearings into Russia on hold without adequate explanation;
Triggered personal investigations by the House Committee on Ethics; and
Quit the investigation under intense public pressure.

Nor can the American people trust Trump officials, who themselves may also be subjects of the investigation, to impartially scrutinize the situation. Others advising the White House on ongoing relations with Russia have:

Lied under oath about meeting with Russian officials during the campaign;
Blocked key officials from testifying;
Failed to disclose payments from Russian sources;
Resigned from the White House; and
Requested immunity.
first meeting on Trump’s schedule this morning: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov at the White House

CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES CANNOT BE TRUSTED

For months now, Trump officials and Republican MoCs in both the House and Senate have wasted the American people’s time with their mishandling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Even after hearing damning testimony, Senate Republicans have failed to take threats to our national security seriously. In testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Crimes and Terrorism, former Attorney General Sally Yates summed up what the Michael Flynn scandal is all about: “To state the obvious, you don’t want your national security advisor compromised with the Russians.” During the same hearing, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper revealed that multiple European allies passed intelligence to the U.S. on Trump campaign contacts with Russian intelligence agents in 2016. Clapper dismissed that this was about leaks: “The transcendent issue here is the Russian interference in our election process.” However, the Republican Senators present failed to probe into the White House’s shielding of Flynn, or the risks posed to U.S. national security.

The House has had its own problems investigating the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former member of the Trump transition team violated established protocols and broke congressional norms. He was lambasted by Democrats and Republicans alike for his unusual behavior. Finally, after announcement by the Ethics Committee that Nunes “may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” Nunes temporarily recused himself from the the investigation into Russia. And now the House Committee on Ethics is conducting its own investigation—into the questionable actions of Rep. Nunes.

Enough is enough. The American people deserve better.

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CONGRESS SHOULD APPOINT A SPECIAL COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 ELECTION

Congress has the power to create a special commission to conduct an investigation that is truly independent, bipartisan, and unbiased. It should do so immediately.

Precedent exists for this type of congressional action. In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress and President George W. Bush set up a special commission to investigate the attacks. Moreover, MoCs of both parties support an independent investigation, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

MoCs have introduced bills in the House and Senate that propose setting up such a commission to examine Russian influence in the 2016 election. Rep. Eric Swalwell’s bill, H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, already has bipartisan support, including co-sponsors from the entire Democratic caucus. Senator Ben Cardin’s bill, S.27, has 24 Democratic co-sponsors. Both bills would establish a commission of independent experts to examine the facts regarding Russia and the 2016 election.

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Here are some articles to read regarding the firing of James Comey:

NY TIMES: F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump

LA TIMES: Absolutely nothing about James Comey’s firing passes the smell test

WASHINGTON POST: After Trump fired Comey, White House staff scrambled to explain why

NY TIMES: In Trump’s Firing of James Comey, Echoes of Watergate

And here are some petitions to sign:

Representative Jerry Nadler’s Petition to Investigate President Trump

Call Fired FBI Director James Comey to testify on Russia’s connections to Trump.

Christine Pelosi’s Petition: Independent Bipartisan Commission to Investigate Russian Interference in Election

Credo: Tell Congress: Investigate Trump’s ties to Russia

People For the American Way: Appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump and Russia NOW!

DAILY COMMENT: IS POLITICAL HUBRIS AN ILLNESS? ~ THE NEW YORKER

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In February, 2009, the British medical journal Brain published an article on the intersection of health and politics titled “Hubris Syndrome: An Acquired Personality Disorder?” The authors were David Owen, the former British Foreign Secretary, who is also a physician and neuroscientist, and Jonathan Davidson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, who has studied the mental health of politicians. They proposed the creation of a psychiatric disorder for leaders who exhibited, among other qualities, “impetuosity, a refusal to listen to or take advice and a particular form of incompetence when impulsivity, recklessness and frequent inattention to detail predominate.”

Owen and Davidson studied the behavior and medical records of dozens of American and British political leaders, from Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, who took office in 1908, to President George W. Bush, who left office in 2009. Across that century, they identified a tendency among some otherwise high-achieving individuals to close themselves off from critics and to overestimate their odds of success. Neville Chamberlain wrongly believed that he could appease Hitler; Tony Blair supported the invasion of Iraq even after his envoy informed him that the plan had “no leadership, no strategy, no coordination,” among other defects. When a leader succumbs to hubris syndrome, the authors wrote, his experience at the top has distorted his personality and decision-making.

 “The Greeks warned us about it,” Owen told me recently, when I called him at home in Britain. “When you see it, you’ve got to be very conscious that you may be watching somebody who is intoxicated with power.” After training as a doctor, Owen spent thirty-two years in politics, heading the Foreign Office from 1977 to 1979, and he developed a fascination with the ways in which C.E.O.s, dictators, and parliamentarians who are otherwise successful in their professions can be warped by the pressures and self-glorification presented by power. “It takes one to know one,” he said, dryly. “For a lot of us who are in leadership roles, the problem with the word ‘narcissism’ is that it has a very Freudian linkage and if you use it, people will shy away from it.”

Owen was only partly interested in establishing a formal diagnosis. (Hubris syndrome does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.) More fundamentally, he wanted to call out a kind of public cognitive bias, in which voters and shareholders are often slow to acknowledge signs of irrational behavior in their chosen leaders because that acknowledgment reflects poorly on the decision to put them there. “You get rumors or people are telling you that things aren’t going all that marvellously, and either you’ve made a wrong choice or something has happened to him,” Owen told me. He helped establish a charity, the Daedalus Trust, which raises public awareness of hubris syndrome in public life, and he encourages institutions—banks, schools, political entities—to assess leaders’ mental health on a fixed schedule. “Then it’s easier to spot an incipient intoxication of power,” he said.

President Donald Trump, in the months since he entered the White House, has become a kind of international case study of mental health’s role in politics. To his friends and allies, he elicits an array of anodyne, even appealing, adjectives: unpredictable, fearless, irascible, sly. Many of his counterparts in diplomacy, and in American politics, are rapidly shedding the euphemisms that they once used to express their appraisals, however. When Trump, after a confused viewing of a Fox News segment, urged people at a rally to look at “what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” suggesting that an incident—which no one could identify; nothing notable had happened the night before—had something to do with Sweden being overrun by refugees, Swedes reached a judgment. “They thought the man had gone bananas,” Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former Prime Minister and foreign minister, told Susan Glasser, of Politico, in an interview published this week. “It was a somewhat unsettling thing to see the president of the United States without any factual basis whatsoever lunge out against a small country in the way that he did.”

~~~  READ THE INTERVIEW  ~~~

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LISTEN TO TERRY GROSS ~ FRESH AIR INTERVIEW

Trump’s Fitness To Serve Is ‘Officially Part Of The Discussion In Congress’